Russia’s Foreign Ministry Joins the Battle Against Fake News. (Seriously.)
Screengrab of Wednesday's briefing at Russian Foreign Ministry
The Russian government has launched a “fake news-busting” website to put an end to what it sees as hostile and inaccurate foreign coverage. The new project is hosted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the need for the project was obvious.
“First they put out some fake news, without facts. Then that goes viral, and forms public opinion. And then, a couple of months later, they issue a clarification, but by then the damage is already done,” she said
Zakharova said Russia lamented the drastic decrease in public trust in the media.
So far, the new site contains four publications “retranslating false information about Russia.” Among them are the NBC scoop on Edward Snowden’s possible return to the U.S., and a New York Times story on Russia violating the arms control treaty.
The Foreign Ministry’s debunking research does not appear particularly thorough. The entirety of their efforts consists of a huge official-looking seal saying “FAKE” in bold red letters, superimposed on a screenshot of the article, and a line of text that says, “This article puts forward information that does not correspond to reality.”
“We don’t expect there to be a shortage of material for this section,” Zakharova told gathered journalists.
The ministry, she said, will be naming and shaming culprits. Media outlets and reporters accused of creating fake news about Russia can appeal to have their names removed, the spokeswoman said.